When Bears middle linebacker Shea McClellin exited the game in Sunday’s 18-17 Bears victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, that gust of wind you felt in the Windy City wasn’t a gasp of panic from Bears fans so much as it was a sigh of relief.
I kid, of course, but unfortunately there is some truth to that joke. Immediately after the injury and throughout the postgame, Bears fans on Twitter and message boards posted their gladness that McClellin was forced out of the lineup.
While I’ll be the first to admit that McClellin has not panned out as a first-round draft choice, I’m not going to be happy that an injury has taken him off the field. The Bears made McClellin the signal caller of the defense this year, and while his play on the field has been sometimes erratic this year, his leadership is shining through.
“I hope my boy Shea hurries up and gets healthy,” said linebacker Pernell McPhee. “He is our general of the defense. He makes all the calls. He makes all the adjustments. I just hope he’s healthy.”
Fellow inside linebacker Christian Jones added: “It sucked, man. I hope he’s fine. He’s our general out there.”
Jones had to make the calls on defense after McClellin’s exit.
“I had to step into a new role,” he said. “I was a little nervous at first. I have to get to the point of spitting it out like Shea does.”
At least McClellin’s teammates have his back.